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Specification, Price & Review: 2020 GMC Sierra 1500

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2020 GMC Sierra 1500

The 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 draws from a broad palette to paint a handsome, conservatively styled truck.

The 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 finds new ways to deliver on an automotive concept older than a century: the pickup truck.

This year, the GMC adds to its roster a turbodiesel inline-6 that’s more refined, new trailer cameras, and a handful of added trim levels. 

The 2020 Sierra gets a 5.6 with an asterisk: Fuel economy ratings aren’t yet in and may change this year thanks to a more widely available 10-speed automatic. That score is likely to fall a little, trucks are hardly known for their fuel efficiency. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The lineup for the GMC Sierra 1500 is wide and deep, pack sunscreen and a snack. The 2020 Sierra 1500 is available in base, SLE, SLT, Elevation, AT4, and Denali versions. Five engines, three transmissions, and two driveline configurations complement three cab options, three bed options, and endless options. In short: the GMC Sierra 1500 can be any flavor you like. Work trucks cost just over $30,000, while fully loaded Sierra 1500 Denalis crest $60,000 before options.

Regardless of what’s underhood or on the badges, the Sierra 1500 looks the part. It was restyled last year and it’s the smarter look compared to the mechanically related Chevy Silverado 1500. 

The body sides are flat and without flair, but the GMC’s grille is the right side of conservative. 

Inside, the truck gets more comfortable and colorful with more money, but all versions prioritize capability and ease of use over frippery style. 

Base Sierra 1500s get a 285-horsepower 4.3-liter V-6 that’s mostly work-spec—few trucks will be parked in driveways with the base engine. 

A 2.7-liter turbo-4 is more common among retail buyers and it’s more powerful at 310 hp. It’s hooked to an 8-speed automatic and rear- or four-wheel drive. It rates up to 21 mpg combined, and it’s acceptable for around-town duty. The turbo-4 becomes thirstier as it lugs more, and its less refined than the other powertrains. 

A 5.3-liter V-8 with 355 hp is our sweet spot, and gets a new 10-speed automatic when equipped with four-wheel drive in certain trims. It’s more powerful off the line and can lug more than 11,000 pounds. 

A 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 is the top powertrain and is only available with four-wheel drive. It manages 17 mpg combined thanks to its standard 10-speed automatic, but tapping into its deep wells of power similarly drains the tank quicker. 

A 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-6 joins the crowd this year and its 277 hp is just enough, but it’s the quietest and likely the most efficient. Its trick isn’t towing—just 9,000 pounds—but it’s the smoothest of the bunch. 

Regular-, extended-, and crew-cab models are available with 5-foot-8-inch, 6-foot-6, or 8-foot bed lengths, depending on configuration. 

The four-door crew cab is a family vehicle, there’s more leg room in the rear than before. Regardless of cab or bed length, the Sierra 1500 is a full-size pickup—measure your garage. 

Safety isn’t one of the Sierra 1500’s best looks. GM unwisely keeps automatic emergency braking from base versions. It’s available on top trims as an option, which is a head-scratcher ahead of next year’s near-mandate for the life-saving tech on all cars. 

Base Sierras get power features, air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, 17-inch wheels, and Apple CarPlay- and Android Auto-compatible infotainment with a 7.0-inch touchscreen.

We find better features and value in Sierra 1500 SLTs that get an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment, 18-inch wheels, automatic climate control, power-adjustable driver’s seat, leather upholstery, a trick tailgate that opens six different ways, and a high-definition rearview camera.

2020 GMC Sierra 1500

Buying tip

The 2020 Sierra 1500 is best in SLT and Denali guise; they’re luxury trucks and fitted accordingly.

– 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 –

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